It’s a summer evening: mid-70’s, flowers in bloom. You already have a list of excuses to justify staying outside – anything to avoid spending that hour in the kitchen cooking dinner.
Sound familiar? It may be time to start planning that outdoor kitchen you’ve been daydreaming about.
If you do it right, an outdoor kitchen could end up being your favorite part of your house. We’ve collected our top 6 must-have features of any outdoor kitchen that make your space more enjoyable and functional. (Just don’t blame us when the neighbors start dropping in!)
1. Weather-proof cabinets
All the materials used for your outdoor space should be weather-resistant and durable. We love the look of NatureKast cabinets, which are built to live through years of sun, storms, and everything in between. They mimic the classic look of wood, but are actually made of resin that’s proven to endure temperature changes without warping or discoloration.
2. The right countertop
Certain materials hold up to temperature changes and moisture better than others. But there’s no single “best option” for everyone. Black granite may be perfect for a covered countertop, but if your kitchen is in direct sunlight, it’ll get scalding-hot by noon.
You’ll want to partner with a trusted stone fabricator who can consider your kitchen design and aesthetic to help you choose the perfect stone.
3. A big screen.
It might seem like a luxury, but ask any sports fan who’s outfitted their outdoor space with a TV: you’ll soon wonder what you did without it.
A big screen transforms a utilitarian space into a family gathering and entertaining spot. (Plus, you’ll never have to decide between burgers on the grill or catching the big game).
Plan to integrate a screen into your outdoor kitchen design right from the start to avoid headaches later.
4. Plenty of natural light.
Many homeowners prefer a partially-covered space to protect their dinner from those summer storms that appear out of nowhere. If you decide to keep your kitchen covered or enclosed, make sure you allow sunlight to flow in. Even if your space is equipped with artificial lighting, it’s easier and more enjoyable to flip those steaks in the sun.
Partner with an experienced designer, who will take sun angle, wind and other factors into account. With the right space, you can stay sheltered from the elements and still get your fill of vitamin D – so do your best to strike a balance.
5. Some creature comforts.
Sure, it’s outdoors, but you’re not camping! Setting up heaters or fans will help you maximize the use of your new kitchen even during off-seasons when weather conditions are less than ideal. Just make sure you choose products that are safe and designed for long-term, outdoor use.
6. Outdoor cooking equipment.
There are all kinds of little conveniences that aren’t really necessary inside, but can seriously improve the functionality of your outdoor kitchen. Beer fridges, warming drawers, and smokers are the types of amenities that will make your outdoor spaces every bit as luxurious as your primary kitchen.
Do a little research while you’re still in the planning phase, and choose the cooking features that appeal to you most.
If you’ve considered making the most of your evenings with an outdoor kitchen, our advice is to go for it. Cheers to making your summer evenings a little longer.